Donna Collins is the assistant vice president of quality & clinical outcomes at Iredell Health System.

Editor’s Note: Iredell Health System is celebrates its 70th anniversary this month. The nonprofit’s success is s a testament to the dedication and loyalty of employees, both past and present. More than 70 current employees have worked at Iredell Health System for over 30 years.


Special to Iredell Free News

From a young age, Donna Collins knew she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. Inspired by her  mother, she never considered another path.

“My mother was in healthcare, and I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a nurse,” said Collins.

Her passion for nursing led her to Iredell Health System, where she has worked for nearly 38 years.

“Working at a for-profit hospital was not appealing to me and did not fit into my philosophy of healthcare,” said Collins, assistant vice president of quality & clinical outcomes.

Donna Collins began her career at Iredell Health System in 1986.

Collins’ tenure began her career with Iredell Health System in May of 1986 as a telemetry nurse.

One of Collins’ earliest memories at Iredell includes using narrative documentation for each patient, which involves taking chronological notes that follow a storied format. At the beginning of her career, she also recalls that nurses had to manually calculate drip rates and drops per minute for IV infusions.

Over the years, Collins’ career evolved through various roles. After four years in telemetry, she transitioned to utilization review during the early days of Diagnosis-Related Groups. She then became a nurse recruiter, followed by a role in case management. She was the assistant vice president of nursing practice and standards before moving into her current position.

As the assistant vice president of quality & clinical outcomes, Collins oversees quality, accreditation, case management, care transitions, and credentialing.

In her nearly four decades at Iredell Health System, Collins has witnessed several advancements and changes.

“One of the largest changes we’ve had was the implementation of electronic documentation. It changed the workflow for so many departments. Another significant change was the transition from The Joint Commission to DNV for hospital accreditation. We have had a very positive experience with DNV as it places a strong emphasis on quality and safety,” said Collins.

Throughout her career, Collins has experienced many memorable moments, including the anthrax attacks in 2001.

“I’ll never forget the time when there were cases of anthrax being sent through the mail in the United States in 2001. Our hospital took this as a very real threat, and a temporary building was set up for hospital staff, who were wearing biohazard suits, to open the mail before it was brought into the hospital,” said Collins.

The hospital’s proactive response to the COVID-19 pandemic also stands out in her memory.

“We proactively procured personal protective equipment and other supplies for bedside caregivers, developed processes to safely reuse supplies when possible, set up an incident command team to respond to the latest data and regulatory requirements, and established vaccination clinics for the community,” said Collins.

“Hospital administration has always taken employee, patient, and community safety very seriously,” she added.

Collins said she has remained at Iredell Health System for 38 years because of “the emphasis placed on quality and safety and the family-like atmosphere.”

Collins cherishes the mentoring she received early in her career from leaders like the then-Vice President of Nursing Becky Johnson, Associate Vice President of Nursing Anne Lamson, and Assistant Vice President of Nursing Carol Biggs.

What sets Iredell apart from other health systems, according to Collins, is its emphasis on employees, patients, and the community.

“Our commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of all is unparalleled,” she said.

About Iredell Health System

Iredell Health System includes Iredell Memorial Hospital; Iredell Mooresville; two urgent care centers; Iredell Home Health; Iredell Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center; Community and Corporate Wellness; Occupational Medicine; the Iredell Physician Network and more. Iredell Memorial Hospital is the largest and only nonprofit hospital in Iredell County. The comprehensive healthcare facility has 247 beds; more than 1,800 employees; and has 260 physicians representing various specialties. Centers of excellence include Women’s and Children’s; Cardiovascular; Cancer; Surgical Services and Wellness & Prevention. The Health System’s second campus, Iredell Mooresville, is home to the area’s only 24-hour urgent care facility, as well as an ambulatory surgery center, imaging center, rehabilitation services, and physician practices. The mission of Iredell Health System is to inspire wellbeing. For a comprehensive list of services and programs, visit www.iredellhealth.org.

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